Translated by Soren A. Gauger
Winner of the 2009 Letterature Dal Fronte
In Towers of Stone, award-winning Polish reporter Wojciech Jagielski brings into focus the tragedy of Chechnya, its inhabitants, and the war being waged there by a handful of desperate warriors against a powerful state-backed army. Jagielski's narrative is told through the lens of two men: Shamil Basaev, a hero to some, a dangerous warlord to others; and Aslan Maskhadov, a calculating and sober politician, who is viewed as a providential savior by some of his compatriots and a cowardly opportunist by the rest. Caught up in a war to which they owe everything and without which they could not live, the two fighters face enemy forces—and one another—in protean conflicts that prove hard to quell. Viewing the two men’s personal stories as a microcosm of the conflict threatening to devour a land and its peoples, Jagielski distills the bitter history of the region with forceful clarity.